A month ago, the Raiders were embarking on a four-game stretch in which three of those teams had just one win (at that time). This week is the last of those three games. It’s against the now 2-8 Arizona Cardinals.
For such an occasion, I spoke with Seth Cox from SB Nation Cardinals site Revenge of the Birds to give me three reasons the Raiders will win on Sunday in Arizona. He obliged.
1. Arizona Cardinals can’t protect Josh Rosen
This is a matchup where one team will get right. Either the Arizona Cardinals porous pass blocking will stymie the awful Raiders pass rush, or the Raiders will get healthy against an abysmal Cardinals offensive line. That’s the big question heading into the game and one that through nine games has been answered as a net positive for the Cardinals opposition. No team gives up more pressure, outside of the Houston Texans, and no team gives up more pressure against non-blitz pass rushes. That is a staggering thing to imagine. In order to pressure Josh Rosen, you just have to bring three or four guys, drop seven or eight into coverage and you’ll make the rookie sweat. If the Cardinals fail again to protect Rosen, it could be an ugly game for the Cardinals
2. Possibly no Budda Baker
While one man does not a defense make, Budda Baker is so integral in the Arizona Cardinals defensive scheme, if he is gone, they are down a Swiss Army Knife, the only one they have on defense. Sure, they still have Chandler Jones, who will likely have a nice game and get to ten sacks on the season, they have Patrick Peterson who is one of the best cornerbacks in the league, but for the most part, you know where to find them each and every play. Baker is different. When Baker is on the field, you have to find him before every play, or he’ll hurt you offensively. He is diverse enough in his skills to play in coverage, play in the box or rush the passer. Sometimes, he makes plays even when he’s out of the play. If he can’t go on Sunday, it will be a big blow to the Cardinals defense.
3. It’s the 2018 Arizona Cardinals
Seriously, schedule makers have to be pissed this is the year the NFC West and AFC West are playing. Games the Cardinals are supposed to be competitive in, they are blown out, Broncos, games they are supposed to be blow out they are competitive, Chiefs. What happens this week? That’s a great question. I would like to expect the Cardinals to win, but it’s the 2018 Cardinals. For all I know, they’ll be down their starting left tackle and right guard, as well as Budda Baker and come out and play like a team who has only beat the San Francisco 49ers all season.